AUSTRALIA DONATES TO PALAU TOURISM SCHOOL

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Offered towards goal of full employment

By Cherrie Anne E. Villahermosa

KOROR (Palau Horizon, July 13, 2009) - The Australia government donated 230,000 Australian dollars or US$185,000 to Palau Community College Tourism and Hospitality School of Excellence.

Australian Parliamentary Secretary for Pacific Islands Affair Duncan Kerr handed the dummy check to President Johnson Toribiong during a dinner reception on Tuesday night at the Palau Pacific Resort (PPR) Hotel Lobby Lounge.

The dinner was hosted by Australian Ambassador Susan Cox and was attended by several Palau officials. The money was intended for the advancement program and development of PCC Tourism and Hospitality School of Excellence.

Kerr said the contribution is the Australia’s commitment to assist Palau achieves the Millennium Development goal of full and productive employment and decent work for all, including women and young people.

Kerr said, "While the world is facing a global economic crisis resulting in a decline in tourist numbers, we need to keep an eye on the future."

"Palau is a beautiful environment which will continue to attract tourists long after the crisis is over. Australia is honored to be associated with an initiative which brings together Government and the private sector to help educate and employ young Palauan," Kerr said during his remarks.

Toribiong for his part thanked the Australian government for its continued support.

"We thanked the Ambassador and the Parliamentary Secretary for their contributions. This is very much welcome because it goes to the Field of Education and education is our number one priority. Since tourism is our main industry, this contribution for this school is very critical for the employment opportunities of our young people," the President said in an interview.

PCC Board of Trustees Chairperson Bilung Gloria Salii said the contribution will further advance the development through local capacity building.

"It is attainable when all stakeholders, government and private, place stronger emphasis on investing in our school of excellence. We will be able to train and develop our people to meet industry’s demand and international standards while protecting our market which is our environment," Bilung Salii said in her remarks.

She said the total cost of the project is US$750,000 and initial fundraising netted over US$30,000 including US$10,000 pledges from PCC and PPR, and now with an additional US$185,000 from Australia government.

The School of Excellence will bring an improved educational experience, state of the art facility and practical learning center to support the country’s tourism industry.

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